Monday, May 9, 2011

IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time: 80-61

In 2009 or so, the comics department of the popular video game website put together a list of their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time, and have finally followed up with the vastly less well considered Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. There is much here to mock and debate (in that order,) so I'll have to do it on an installment plan. Watch the video if you like, but expect a poverty of speech content...


80) Nightcrawler
I bought the first issue of Dave Cockrum's '80s Nightcrawler mini-series off the newsstand, and realized that however much I liked the character in the context of the X-Men, I just couldn't get excited about him as a solo character. I don't want to see him try to be funny or mournful or determined or anything else on his own. I just want him to be a protagonist's sounding board, a wonderful team player and a nice guy who has moved beyond his past.

79) Captain Britain

I tried for several years in the '80s to like Brian Braddock, but not even Alan Moore could get me to see past his being a privileged abusive douche bag sorely lacking any personality. How this guy has managed not to get killed and permanently replaced is beyond me. Even the British don't particularly like him. Give me Dragon's Claw or Death's Head any day.

78) Sgt. Rock

This is another character that totally matters, that I absolutely respect, but I have never been particularly interested in.

77) Sub-Mariner

I'm glad an effort is being made to recognize Namor as the first mutant and a mover in the Marvel Universe. He was the original anti-hero with a bad attitude, and a load of abrasive fun in a team book.

76) The Rocketeer

GTFO. My apologies to his fans, but this guy just does not matter in the grand scheme of things. He was drawn by Dave Stevens as part of his paltry output of sequential art, helped turn Betty Page into a cultural icon, and starred in Disney's second attempt to ride the wave of Tim Burton's Batman. Otherwise, the Rocketeer was a nostalgic relic thirty years ago, and all the more so today.

75) Marv

Frank Miller's Sin City could never top its initial outing, and was the creator's too brief return to greatness. That said, Marv should totally haunt these latter parts of the hundreds while more important and prolific characters (many already discussed) exceed him.

74) Black Widow

Very much Marvel's Black Canary. An early character who has spent several gaps in limbo and too much of the Bronze Age as the fairer but lesser half of a romantic super-partnership. Several half-hearted solo attempts in the '80s and '90s finally yield a modestly successful series of mini-series, some multi-media exposure, and increased relevance in their universe. However, Dinah's pulled it off better, even accounted for her unfortunate backslide with Green Arrow for a couple of years.

73) Jonah Hex

Too high on the list, but still the most successful western character since the Bronze Age.

72) Luke Cage

I personally find the character a lot more embarrassing and possessed of much less potential today than when he was a baldly blaxploitative '70s refugee, but I still love and respect the guy.

71) Wildcat

This is one of those listings that kind of slap me across the face. I just talked about another streetwise tough guy, but where Luke Cage has been one of the eminent black heroes of the past four decades, Ted Grant is just a likeable but forgettable old fart. Seeing Wildcat on a greatest heroes list is like seeing Ed Asner on a greatest actors list. Asner is one of the great crusty old boss character actors, but he's no Ernest Borgnine, much less an Olivier. Wildcat was a back-up strip in a Wonder Woman comic and a lesser JSA member before '70s revivals chose to emphasize the Earth-2 exclusive members, and he's still just a roughneck in a silly costume among giants.

70) The Spectre

The cutting edge of both unbelievably powerful and remarkably brutal characters. Not often handled well, but deserving nonetheless.

69) Scott Pilgrim

I have read exactly one short story that was thoroughly okay. That's the sum total of my noteworthy exposure.

68) Iron Fist

Marvel Comics had two successful bids at cashing in on the '70s kung-fu craze, and Iron Fist was the lesser of the two in every single respect. That's why his short-lived series was merged with the more popular Luke Cage, Hero For Hire to form Power Man and Iron Fist (note second bill.) Less a "Top" and more an "Afterthought."

67) Hank Pym (Ant-Man)

I do not like Hank Pym. I do not like the original Ant-Man. I do not like Giant Man. I do not like Yellowjacket. He has never worked, he has never been loved, and he serves no purpose others couldn't handle better. I can't believe he hasn't died spectacularly and stayed that way.

66) Invisible Woman

I'm not really a fan, but she's nice and I recognize her power/importance.

65) Gambit

People friggin' hate Gambit for his sleazy costume, his stinky trenchcoat, his stupid accent and his central role in the decline of the X-Men franchise. I disagree, and the chicks dig him, so there.

64) The Atom

I love how the article with this entry is entirely about Ray Palmer, but they picture Ryan Choi. No respect for either, and it's hardly uncommon. Doll-Man might have been the biggest of the early tiny heroes, but the Silver Age Atom clearly eclipsed him to become the best of a bad lot. I've got love for the Ray Palmer version, and contrary to popular misconception, the guy has a lot of cool potential that remains less than fully realized. At least he ranked above the wife beater.

63) Blade

I still have trouble getting past my conception of Blade from Tomb of Dracula, and I wish Marvel could figure out how to do the guy right, but a movie trilogy, TV spin-off, and contribution to the popularity of tribal tells the tale.

62) Dashiell Bad Horse

I've read one issue of Scalped. It was okay. I've read a few Jason Aaron scripts. He's no Alan Moore, and I'm no fan of Moore, but they were alright.

61) Blue Beetle

The original was one of the bigger Golden Age heroes from a smaller publisher, and the star of his own radio show. The new kid just appeared on Smallville, and is a positive image of a young, Latino super-hero. The one in the middle is the only one acknowledged. Ted Kord was an industrialist recasting of Steve Ditko's Spider-Man more in that co-creator's image. He was funny in JLI, and I know he has a vocal following, but I just fell very "meh."

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